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January 15, 2020
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Q. So how was your off-season? What did you do?
MARINA ALEX: It was good. I didn't do a lot. I feel like the off-seasons are getting shorter and shorter. Just took a few weeks off, was in Nashville for a bit, Boston, catching up with friends, got to see my family some. It felt good to be home actually. I spent like a solid month in Florida, which was nice. I got into a good routine. I feel like things I haven't been able to do in a long time.
So it was nice to be home and feel like -- I got used to being a homebody for a little while.
Q. It's a nice change of pace with how much we travel.
MARINA ALEX: Absolutely.
Q. While you were a homebody, did you put the clubs away at all?
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, about 2, 2 1/2 weeks.
Q. How nice.
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, I try to do that every off-season now just because, once I start again, I find that I'm like eager to get back out there and practice. So it's like I need to force myself to just put them down and not look at them.
Q. It's refreshing?
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, so refreshing. And then about 12, 14 days in, I start getting a little antsy about it, and then I get back to it. But that first week is great. It's so nice.
Q. Anything you're working on as you get into 2020?
MARINA ALEX: No, not particularly. Just a few things with my coach, things that we've been kind of working on, I feel like for ages, that are just hard to get fixed. But it's just little refinements. I guess this is -- I don't know what year this is for me -- seventh, I think -- and there's only so many things you can change now at this point in your swing. I mean, you can do little stuff, but making big changes, it can be risky. So not looking to make those kinds of changes anymore, which is good.
I think it's made my practice a little bit simpler and my game plan simpler, and the things that I know to look for when I'm checking my swing on video or sending my swing to my coach, and I ask him a couple of the same questions, and we kind of get right to what it is we need to be working on, especially since he's in Australia. So I don't get to see him that often.
MARINA ALEX: No. It's a casual segue there. I didn't really specify there.
Q. How does that work if your coach is in Australia?
MARINA ALEX: I've been working with Ian Triggs for five years. He's the best. I absolutely love him. He still works with Mo, and he worked with Karrie Webb for a long time, So Yeon for a long time. Worked with Eun Hee for a while too.
Q. Mo Martin?
MARINA ALEX: Mo Martin. Sorry.
Q. Just making sure.
MARINA ALEX: Had a couple guys on the PGA TOUR for a while. So he did a ton of traveling to the states. When I first started working with him out here on the LPGA, he probably went to five or six events a year, so that's a lot, and I would kind of do trips to Australia and meet with him in the off-season. I've been there, I think, three different times over the past five years, like off-season, to just like go and train before -- either right after a season or right before a season and kind of like get going. That was tough.
Luckily, we don't really have to do that that much anymore because we've really worked on overhauling things, and that's been a while, and now we're kind of in a good place.
Q. Are you a goal setter?
MARINA ALEX: People ask me that. Not really.
Q. It's that time of year to talk about goals.
MARINA ALEX: I know. I thought about it a little bit, and I wanted to be like I'm going to write them down and I'm going to do all that. I know there are probably two approaches to that. There are people who believe, if you put it out there and write it down and you look at it, then your likelihood of achieving it increases.
Then there are people who are probably more like me, I think that they're expectation setters. So I would rather just go play the best golf I can absolutely play. Like what if I exceed that? Or what if I don't reach it? What if I set something that I didn't hit, and that's disappointing.
Q. So you focus on the progress you make?
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, kind of. I'd rather look at it from year to year. Have I gotten better? Has my scoring average gotten better? Has certain statistics gotten better? I'd kind of rather focus on the stats than the results because I say all the time you could statistically have a great year scoring average-wise, or you could hit more greens, or all of those things, but that may not result in you winning a tournament or anything.
So it just depends on the competition you're playing each week and what the other 144 players are bringing that week. There's been weeks where I've played -- truthfully, I thought I played better than Portland, and the result is different. So it's hard to really kind of put things in your head that maybe the result might be a bit out of your control.
Q. Right. It puts it in your hands. You control what you can?
MARINA ALEX: Yes, and I feel like stats are things that I can control -- driving distance, accuracy, all that stuff, I really like to get a little bit better with each year. Putting, I think for me the past few years, has been a main focus. Trying to improve like my putts on greens in reg and just total putting in general. But those stats correlate also to how many greens you're hitting. If you hit a ton of greens, that gives you a kind of an inflated sense of -- your putting stat may not necessarily be that good, but it doesn't mean you're a bad putter.
So I'm going to like just focus on all that kind of stuff. That kind of makes it simple but also like realistic, manageable, and then I don't get wrapped up in how I'm finishing each week. Like I care about how I'm performing for sure, but it's more like I need to like just put the results aside.
Q. That strikes me as a healthy balance, being in control but knowing what you can do personally.
MARINA ALEX: For sure. I know in each and every one of us, if you're having a good week and things are clicking -- once you get in the heat of the competition the last couple of days, obviously, you're looking to win, and then that result is going to be in your head for sure. But that's for everyone. It's not like they set that goal in their mind in January to want to win. Everyone does. Everyone wants to do these things. So they're kind of like, I guess, implied at this point.
Q. So this week is fun?
MARINA ALEX: I love this week so much.
Q. What do you like about this week? What's your favorite thing?
MARINA ALEX: I love playing with all these different guys. Whether it's former athletes, or last year we played with Toby Keith. He was just the nicest man ever. Having a great time out there. It's honestly really good to see a lot of these guys with the crowd and how they interact with fans, and I think that's a really good learning experience for us as players because we are -- we need to be engaging as well, and it's nice to just see how they do it.
People love coming to watch this. Yesterday I played with Deron Williams and Eric Gagne. We played a practice round together, just as fun, yeah. It was like, sorry, girls, I don't want to play with any of you this week. I see you all the time. We play practice rounds together every week. I'd rather just play with people who I don't get to play with regularly.
It's so impressive to see, especially the former -- whether they're NBA, MLB, and I don't know if we have any NHL, but we have a couple of NFL guys here -- just their passion for the game and how interested they are in golf. Like probably weren't growing up, but the steps that they take to really work on their swings and work on all of the technique and like really learn how to play, and they're so into it, and I love it. I like golf nerd out, you know, just talking about different shots.
They're like in those phases that we probably were when we were kids, like learning -- high school, college, like you're so eager to learn different things, and you see the drastic improvement in your game. From going like everyone starts out 90s shooting, and then you drop to the 80s and then the 70s, and they're at like those phases of their golf career life. It's cool to see that, where they're super pumped, like great par. So it's a lot of fun.
Q. Do they ask you for any tips or anything?
MARINA ALEX: Sometimes, not really. It's funny. When we were playing yesterday, Gagne has got an unbelievable short game. I played with him here the final round last year, and I honestly -- and even yesterday -- it's beyond impressive to me, like inside 100 yards, his wedge game, and his touch around the greens, he really never is not pin high and within like ten feet of the hole. His hand-eye coordination is obviously next level.
But he has his own like odd theories about how to hit shots and stuff like that, and we were talking a little bit about chipping and the way he was explaining it, like it makes sense from like technically speaking, but it's not anything anyone's taught him. He kind of like came about this on his own. He's like, I think this is how I should be doing this and this for this shot.
Q. In his own way?
MARINA ALEX: Kind of in his own way, yeah, whether it's trial and error or whatever he's been doing. He loves to play obviously, and he's kind of just figured it out on his own, which is cool. It's really cool to see. I'm sure he's applied some other things that he knows from like pitching and stuff to like how to use your hands and all that. It's cool. I like love it. I love to see people trying to figure out golf.
Q. Maybe a little bit of better you than me in that moment?
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, kind of.
Q. Or maybe a little humbling as well?
MARINA ALEX: It is. It's definitely humbling, I think, for some. I think that maybe they didn't understand, but now they do, like the certain difficulty levels that come into hitting certain shots well, and that maybe they thought that, because it's such a different type of game and sport, where you're not exerting, like you're not running to catch a ball in the end zone --
Q. You're not --
MARINA ALEX: Yeah, there's a lot of -- that kind of idea of athleticism is not the same in golf. So I think for them that was a learning curve, like this is a little harder than I thought it was going to be, and it's different, which I think they've like grown to expect, and now they're really into it.
Q. One last question. We're really starting to focus on this is the 70th anniversary of the LPGA this year.
MARINA ALEX: I didn't know that. That's cool.
Q. 70th anniversary. We're announcing the most TV hours we've ever had and just growing for us. You've been part of that as part of the leadership council. How fulfilling is it for you -- like Mike was saying in our press release, when the LPGA started 70 years ago, did you think we would have more than 500 hours of women's golf on TV each year?
MARINA ALEX: That's true.
Q. In your time, how have you grown, and what do you see as the future of the LPGA?
MARINA ALEX: The future? It's changed so much. My first full year was 2014, and I played a little in 2013, but I mean, just the competition itself is nothing what it was six years ago. You need to play really well every week to, A, be in convention to make the cut, to all of those things. You can't slack at all. That is an unbelievable thing, and I think that that brings -- just overall we're bringing such a good product to our viewers now.
I mean, we have players from so many different countries at the top of the world rankings, at the top of the leaderboards every week, and that always was the case. Some people may not like that, and some people love it. It depends on how you look at it. I think it's incredible. I think that what we do as a Tour and how we are bringing golf to all of these different places is really special, and I only see that expanding and increasing as we go along, playing in different -- in even more different countries than we currently are already.
Ten years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if you see LPGA players out here from other countries that are currently not already, have broken through on Tour. I think that you'll just keep seeing the growth. It's cool that we have the ability to touch those different places.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports